Magazine article Sunset

Vacation at Home

Magazine article Sunset

Vacation at Home

Article excerpt

DESIGN

A tiny beachfront lot accommodates plenty of outdoor living

On a warm summer evening, Bruno and Dawn Büchler gather with friends on the intimate patio outside their home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. A salty breeze blows up from the ocean as the sun sets, turning the sky pink and orange. Dawn Büchler opens a bottle of wine at the table beside a crackling fire, while Bruno heats up the grill and friends hang out at a counter that the couple call their Caribbean bar. With tiki torches glowing among tropical plants that fringe the patio, the stage is set for a casual gathering that's perfectly matched to the Büchlers' island-style house and garden.

Finding space for outdoor living and entertaining is always a challenge on tiny beach lots. But the Büchlers (he's a master builder, she sidelines as a colorist and designer), working with architect Kevin Farrell and garden designer Debora Carl, made every inch of the narrow lot count.

Entry courtyard

A waterfall and pond lined with black Mexican beach pebbles greet guests arriving at the entry courtyard. To give the area a lush tropical look, Carl planted in vertical layers around the perimeter, relying on leaf color and texture rather than on flowers for interest. She underplanted palms with magenta- and wine-foliaged bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii) and black-leafed mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus). …

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